Monday, December 29, 2008

Please go to bed!!

It's almost ten to eleven and Hz managed to sleep relatively early alhamdulillah, but the others have started some complicated lego game, Biryani is on I don't know what but has her 2nd wind despite having had no nap and less than 9 hours sleep yesterday. DH is in Germany doing some pilot training, so it's often down to him to get them in the bed direction. I really have no energy for conflict right now, so am hoping they'll flake out and put themselves to bed.
Yesterday we visited friends and today some others came to ours so it was nice to see them, it seems a while since I've met any sisters and the kids miss their friends although it's really not been so long apart. M is always very keen to sleep over but this hasn't materialised.
I was actually able to send S off to read some (basic) Arabic by himself today, and he actually said it was too easy. I am looking forward to when they can study their Arabic reading and memorisation of Quran independently of me. At the moment it still requires me to break things down and give a lot of individual attention which is often hard with Hz also requiring it!
Right I've announced they must go to bed 'Wait' is M's reply.

Also today I've been in thrifty mood, and made another fruit cake based on my mother's all bran cake recipe. It's good for using up the bits of cereal that really aren't appetising, and requires no eggs nor margarine.
mix together in a big bowl:
1 cup cereal (bran flakes etc)
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

and leave for one hour. Then add 1 cup self-raising flour and mix and then put in a lined baking tin for about 1 and a half hours at 180 C.
It tastes best sliced and spread with butter.
Also made some buckwheat pancakes although this required a bit of improvisation, and there really isn't a proper recipe to give out!
I still have plans for a cheesecake as for some reason DH bought a tin of apricots and I looove cheesecake, just never have enough cream cheese in the house for this!
Can you tell I've been browsing cookbooks? I thought this is a good idea to get my appetite back inshaAllah.
I can still hear the game going on, they rarely think of these during the day, and feel bored/ 'request' computer time etc.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A bit of a ramble..

You would think with three adults around the house I'd have enough time to get online. Hz has been keeping up the family tradition of not being so good with his sleep patterns of late. Adding to this he seems to be awake an awful lot in the day, and is at the stage where he wants to be up and about, causing trails of destruction, but physically he can't. He can just about sit up for a minute or so followed by a tumble. He likes to do swimming movements when lying on his front, but again goes nowhere fast. So we are talking over-tired, frustrated baby at the moment. However I know this is only a phase and it won't be long before he'll be off exploring, maybe to discover the delights of the recycling box, and the angry tones of 'No! Not in your mouth'.

Well it's now the holidays, after an extremely long term. Reflecting back, it has been (and continues to be) hard, trying to keep up things like Quran, English work. I remember my Mum getting me to do extra work so I would have a better chance of passing my 11plus. I really wasn't interested and didn't realise it's significance. I did quite a lot of work at school plus homework and more work seemed unnecessary. I feel it's a similar situation with my kids. However many times I explain the rewards of learning Quran it's usually hard (though not impossible) to get them to spend time on it.

I remember going back to work, part-time, after I'd had S, and it was harder than doing the job, full-time. I imagine if you're full-time home educating, then it's just what you do, and get on with it. Similarly to the way they now go most days fairly willingly to school, although still get the moans of how boring it is.

And boredom, this is still a usual complaint, but I'm used to it now I basically ignore it. S's friend was over for a couple of nights, and too much screen viewing was enjoyed. But when I suggested they do some drawing they actually did so and made some cartoon strips (in English). It's a bit of some extra training for S's friend's English, and he carefully corrected the word 'Characters' when I pointed it out to them, not the easiest word especially as it would be his 3rd language.

DH took them out and played a game he remembered from his childhood, involving lots of running and throwing, and he's also been getting them to run around the block with him quite a few times. Some really rosy cheeks filled the flat, it was quite chilly out today.

Christmas day is almost over, and thousands of Muslims throughout Sweden are no doubt satisfied to have got all their washing done without having to book the slot for the communal washing machines ages in advance (as of course doing washing on the 24th/ 25th is not on the mind of most traditional Swedes). We have started using the communal machines again as it saves a bit of money and the towels do come out all fluffy from the tumble drier.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Managed to sleep through this..

There was an earthquake nearly 5 on the Richter scale in the South of Sweden early this morning. I was actually awake around 4.30 a.m. (to feed Hz) and then again around 5 my neighbours start making a bit of noise when they get up for the day. I must have gone back to a deep sleep by the time it happened (6.20 a.m.). Or maybe it wasn't so strong where we are, S noted none of his lego had toppled off his shelves and it's quite delicately stored there. He was quite annoyed we'd missed it as all his classfellows and our friends in the other town were woken by it.
'Nothing interesting ever happens here', he said.
Well, true, if having earthquakes, people jumping off balconies to their death, mosques being raided and cars set on fire, is interesting.
I suppose it would have been something to witness the biggest earthquake Sweden's had in a long time

quick, Hz calling

Hz has two teeth now, much earlier than the others. They were all mobile before gettung their teeth. They are tiny and sharp and don't I know it, you really want a bottle then mister?!
But I carry on with breast-feeding, much because of it's convenience and cost effectiveness as well as health benefits.
Today went out despite the grey, cold weather. Vitamin syrup for Biryani has run out, and her lack of proper eating cannot fail to worry me, despite her energy and apparent growth. How she grows I don't know, she even continues to go to bed atthe same time as me despite having no nap. However today she had one, so sneaking in a few mm I suppose.
School finishes this week,and it has been a long term. Hz is whinging and I think posts arestil likely to be short for the moment.
DH has been offered voluntary redundancy with pay till the end of 2009, so I now have a househusband, let's hope this is helpful!( and gets a new source of income asal , inshaAllah)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I am still here, just..

I have been feeling a bit rough the last few weeks, but during the night after Eid as I woke feeling quite awful and I knew it was time to visit the doc's. So I have been on some antibiotics and now I am managing to feel a bit better alhamdulillah. When any type of negative feelings come in my head I remember how blessed I am to be have been to have been born in an era with pretty good medical treatment., and live in a place where it is actually available along with more than the basic necessuties for life.
Shukr and Alhamdulillah

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's nearly Eid!

This is what I managed to put together for H's nursery to explain Eid. I wasn't sure whether to include the details of the Prophet Ibrahim(as) story as they are only aged 3-5 years old and the idea of 'sacrifice' would be scary.But his teacher said they have used a Bible stories book which has the story in, only of course with Prophet Ishaq (as) rather than Ismail (as). I lent them my 'The fire that saved book' given to us by a kind sister.

I would have liked to give the talk myself, but my Swedish still isn't good enough I think. H did say the Takbeer etc to show them, I thought he would be too reluctant in front of his friends!

One question, how would I make this document below so that it could be in a list of resources in the side bar of the blog. I'm imagining PDF files are needed and uploading, but someone give me some step by step instructions. (I'm inspired by Talibideen Jr website which has so many fine resources).

Eid ul Adha

In Islam there are two festivals every year called Eid (Id). The next one is called ‘Eid ul Adha’ in Arabic and in Pakistan they sometimes call it ‘Bakara Eid’(Goat Eid because people often eat goat on this day)
There are 12 months in the Muslim calendar, and each one starts when the new moon is seen. There is an Eid coming soon which is on the 10th day of the month of ‘dhu al hijr’. (On Saturday it was the 1st day of the month, so today is day ..., how many days left until Eid? )
For these first ten days it is extra special to do good things e.g. help your parents. Then on the 10th day is the festival of Eid. So this year it is on Monday!
At the moment many Muslims from all over the world will be getting ready to go to Makkah in Saudi Arabia to visit the Kabah and pray to Allah (our Creator) (Day 8 and 9).
It is one of the 5 pillars, or main things, all Muslims, who have enough money, have to do at least once in their life.
On the 10th day it is Eid, and people who hardly ever get to eat meat or other proper food because they are too poor, are given it and have a feast. (The meat links to the story of Abraham)
It is good to go to a big park where the whole town can pray together to say an extra prayer and meet your friends. On the way you can say these words : H knows this nicely!

Allahu Akbar.
Allahu Akbar.
Laa ilaaaha illallah.
Wa Allahu akbar.
Allahu akbar.
Walillaahil Hamd.

(Allah is the Greatest.
Allah is the Greatest.
There is noone who has the right to be worshipped except Allah.
Allah is the Greatest.
Allah is the Greatest
and to Allah belongs all praise.)

In Sweden we pray in a mosque or hall as it is too cold. When Eid is in the Summer we say outside too. (Lunar months mean Eid is 10 days or so earlier every year) So when H is in Gymnasium it should be outside!
Everyone is very happy, having special food, sweets, new clothes and presents, and visiting their friends and family. They great each other with ‘Eid Mubarak’ Eid blessings, or ‘Taqabbala Allahu minnaa wa minkum’
May Allah accept it from you and us (the good deeds)

Take my money, just take it

But there are many who I think are much more deserving of it..

Car tax bill didn't arrive in the post, so had to pay reminder charge. 'It's the law' they say..

I forget to pay my elec bill, so pay it plus reminder charge, and finally get round to posting direct debit form. Then a week later the debt collector company sends a bill for the outstanding elec bill, what? I must have forgotten to press confirm on my internet bank when paying it, another charge. And I now await the interest charges (8%??!).

Just writing it down to let off steam as phoning up the companies here will just get you a 'It' s the law' response, rather than 'OK it's a first offence we'll waive it'

Alhamdulillah, what we have or have not is written already in our Qadr. I am too easily annoyed and doesn't my keyboard know it..

Right off to phone and find out if the direct debit form arrived, I lost trust in the Post Office a long time ago.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ups and downs

I often wonder why it feels like there are not enough hours in the day. Even the smallest of plans seem hard to fit in to the everyday drudgery which necessarily repeats itself. Washing clothes, preparing food, it just has to be done. Only by doing these tasks more efficiently can there be a bit more time spare. I laugh to myself as I read advice for parents of young children to do only the bare basics so you have time to rest. What less can I do?, the house looks like burglars came and turned the place over. I can just ignore it and I am doing so as I write and otherwise not much would be written. But cluttered house= cluttered mind and I need to have some clarity in thinking to progress right now. I was discussing with S about how others in the neighbourhood have new cars etc, and this led to discussing double incomes. He perked up when I said if I worked we could have a lot more money. I even looked up mother-tongue teacher job posts. I thought this is me being pro-active in trying to get us out of this stress-inducing situation, that being the flat bursting at the seams with people, their stuff, need for personal space..

This is me writing after a weekend indoors, with poor little Hz with a sore throat and me fighting every type of microorganism. This is Winter in Sweden (again),


and I am waiting for the broadcast from Makkah to lift my spirits.

On a lighter note, my prayers were answered as yesterday the 'no satellite signal received' came up on the TV. You'd think I could just say 'No' to the TV, but with a concrete reason behind me, it's much easier as there's no point in debates. We even played Top Trumps with each other, and today I thought I should spend some more time with Biryani as I feel I'm expecting her to occupy herself too much. So we made Top trumps cards out of a toy catalogue. She was quite good with the sticking, and I wrote the headings: Price, Batteries, and Fun. I'd actually suggested to S he make some, but got no response. But as often is the case in order to get kids interested in something, I have to start doing it first. Once I'd done the cards myself, and they'd enjoyed playing them, they ( M& S) went on to make some more themselves, adding the category 'strength' (i.e. ability to stay intact at hands of siblings). A stretchy Scooby Doo was top at that.

Other things I've noticed to get reluctant participants to participate

  • Make quizzes to test parents on knowledge (e.g. on Arabic word meanings!)
  • Posh pens (calligraphy) to encourage writing.
  • Use of percentage or number goals

    e.g Rosetta Stone gives you the percentage correct of each section, M goes back and does it again until he gets 100%,

    Arabic reading practice, at the end of each page a word total is given and it accumulates so that after a few pages it shows a high number of read.

  • Use of a timer, good for getting tasks done (e.g. ready for bed)

    Hz is rolling front to back and back to front now, likes to stand being held and even stood a few seconds balanced against the coffee table the other day. Solids are going down well and sleep is generally OK, just last night he woke a lot due to his illness.

    Now I should sleep, tomorrow I have to rethink the monthly task sheet, redo the menu plan, and I want to finish an information sheet about Eid for nursery so they can talk about something other than Christmas (yes advent started today I think, well there were some very loud fireworks and the tree lights are on).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Running a tight ship, how is it done?

Go on, up a bit...

I find idioms reassuring. It means a significantly large number of people have had the same experience in order for a phrase to become part of a language.

How do you keep on top of the trails of mess and destruction of having a large family?

As a child I developed the ability to ask 'Is there anything I can do to help?' since my mother had a chronic back problem, and not doing things wasn't really an option, for someone like me who doesn't deal well with guilt. I am glad I learnt how to clean a bathroom, wash up etc but still wish for my children to have a little bit more of a childhood. No doubt I have got them to do chores such as the above, and sometimes they quite enjoy them. But to expect them to be done to adult standard and on a regular basis seems nigh on impossible.

We have a system of 'good deeds wiping out the bad deeds' and recently developed a 'House Rules' list (Supernanny has got in there somewhere) as debates come up as to whether a 'crime' was actually committed and actually deserves the punishment (invariably deduction in pocket money). If it's written down there can be no debates. Most of the 'bad deeds' involve some form of injustice to another sibling. So for example we have the obvious no kicking, pinching etc as well as the verbal teasing etc (and later 'burping on someone' was added by consensus). So they get the chance to earn some of it back by doing chores. However it's really only if someone is saving up for a particular thing that they want to do this. I'm trying to 'train' them so that at least if they're living alone or when married inshAllah they are able to be a bit domesticated. Putting their dirty dishes in the sink is a start, a sister suggested I get them to put them in the dishwasher but as often I haven't got round to emptying it..

However I feel there lies much room for improvement. I know it must be frustrating for the bigger ones when it is not them that makes most of the mess, but also I do come across a lot of male clothes on the floor etc. Nagging them does always seem more effort than doing it myself. I try to leave notes about now and again. I just hope it never comes to me leaving one saying 'I've gone to my Mum's, sort yourselves out somehow.. .'

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some of the many reasons..

why I haven't blogged much lately, or done much more than the really necessary:

1.Kids using computer: S's youtube channel (many sequels there).

2.Tiredness (Hz is sleeping pretty well again alhamdulillah, but neighbours alarm clocks going off at 5 a.m., and getting them ready for school mean rarely I can get up when my body feels ready). As Biryani often sleeps when I do (due to late afternoon naps which are almost impossible to avoid as she is also woken early by the morning rush.) So there is no 'kid-free time in the evenings to be online (she is still a tad adverse to me using the computer)

3.When Hz is awake he likes to be held much of the time, I'm not strong enough to use the sling much, so typing one handed is hard.

Did I day dream about putting them all in day-care? well yes for a second, but only for a second or so.
If I do get time I'm trying to be more regular with things like Quran and Arabic, trying being the operative word...
We have started having tick charts on the wall for the 2 older ones plus myself, and it really does help to focus and keep going with things (or show how we haven't and to try to buck up!). I keep remembering the essence of this hadith (Bukhari and Muslim) Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "The best loved deeds to Allah are the ones that are continuous even if they are not very many."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A post that got stuck in my drafts, from end of October

I have found out what the needle was for in M's craft set he received ages ago, it's for this:
and if I had bothered to read the instructions I would probably have realised anyway.

We have been here and they do these sort of crafts plus the added bonus of cakes and farm animals to stroke/ look at/ be terrified of.

Technology, I suppose it has to be embraced..

Today we went out and met friends in the park. Bracing was the word, with the weather changing every 5 minutes, and ending up being heavy rain and gusts of wind, and so we headed briskly to the library nearby. Why they have to have computers and now an Xbox 360 with the latest Lego Batman game on it I don't know. M and H and friend hung about waiting for a turn, and it turned out that this had to be booked. In my mind libraries are for reading, somewhere to be a bit more quiet than usual. Somewhere where I don't have to say '5 more minutes and you must turn it OFF!'.
No, in order for this to be possible one must be away from electricity supplies and 'hotspots' although this isn't completely full-proof. S got his first proper mobile which he'd been saving up for and these also have games on them.
But as the weather cleared and we went out to the playground, I was glad to see rosy cheeks and moving bodies as they dashed round, chasing each other, even if the gun sound effects were mostly coming from afore-mentioned Sony Ericsson technology...

I wasn't going to blog today..

but S couldn't sleep and wanted me to include one of his latest videos he's made.

he uses Windows movie maker and my mobile phone camera.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Equipment purchasing or should I stick to pebbles and sticks in the park?

I've been considering buying a laminator, on and off, but would it really be used? Or is it one of those pieces of equipment that get put in the cupboard to gather dust?

Also sticker making machines, has anyone tried, and before I go on a shopping spree(?!) how is it with 'Moon sand', how easy is it to control in terms of mess, and colours getting mixed up. Is like lego, that it's worth the mess for the play value it brings?

Any other equipment, activities (for any age really) that you could really not do without?

Biryani's been happy with her salt dough these past weeks, and it doesn't stay in the mouth for long!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've just re- read my blog posts from the time when Biryani was about 4 months old, and then I was hoping for 4 hour blocks of sleep! I must be grateful! Recently I've been finding it hard to find time to get on the computer, but I am am glad I bother sometimes. I would never remember all the details which are sometimes reassuring...

Back to reality

Well I am not so surprised but Hz has gone back to night waking these last few days, with about 4 hours between feeds. It has coincided with his first vaccination, and starting solids (no they never help my kids sleep through the night). It's just a bit frustrating as I know he can go 8, 10 or even 12 hours. However I can't let him just cry for various reasons. Biryani often ends up in bed with me and she'd get woken by him crying, maybe he needs the feeds (growth spurt) and it just feels a bit early to leave him to cry. Hz's sleep plus Biryani's sleep/eating/potty training difficulties (but it's me that's the one having difficulty with accepting these) leave me often trying to put things in to perspective, hoping that in a year's time, things will inshaAllah be easier. Apologies fot the jumbled text, I think I should lie down....

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hz -zzzzzzzzz

He's such an 'easier' baby, by night. Especially as he'll go to sleep quite early in the evening and maybe only wake once, or not until Fajr. To make up for this he is awake a lot during the day, and sometimes unhappy unless I'm holding him, hence my arms, wrists, most of my body feel like I've been doing some sort of workout. So getting stuff done nowadays is a challenge, mashAllah. The house has been a tip since yesterday when I had to find all the winter stuff and Hz's next size clothes from the cellar. I haven't sorted out everything not taken down the grown out of clothes to the cellar, plus a pile of washing still needs putting away, so it looks a bit like a second-hand clothes shop round here at the moment.
He's started blowing raspberries, by sticking his tongue out, much like the turtle we saw the other day, and saying the 'th' sound accompanied by dribble. He can lift his head well when on his tummy, and turns himself round if on the floor, and rolls onto one side. He has a v strong grip so you have to watch your hair, and I'm wondering if it's time to start the food. I'm never in a rush myself for this, breast-feeding is such a blessing...

I suppose if they have to be in school..

then there's worse places than Sweden (i.e. the UK school system).
Here's a link showing the way Sweden runs it's preschools and how it seems beneficial long-term as regards literacy. I do think though that Swedish is a lot easier to learn to read as it is generally more phonetic. (I'd advise putting mute on until title comes to avoid garish music)
Funny, they have fairly recently built an outside shelter so the little ones can have their nap outside in H's nursery, whatever the weather. The chairs and tables are exactly the same as in his nursery. Only thing they don't show is the kids whimpering for their Mummy (although I admit this isn't a hughly regular thing I come across), nor the whiffy nappy changing area.
I think they have got it right not pressurising the kids to do formal learning until 7, but 'social training' was mentioned ! and I think age 1 is too young to go to nursery, especially when it can be from 7 am until 5 pm, 5 days a week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Half-term entertainment

It's been half-term this week, and DH was supposed to go to London yesterday but the bankruptcy of Sterling airlines meant that he went today instead(on another airline of course). More and more of these 'financial crisis' things lead me to think about how Islamic financial system would avoid these sorts of things. How an airline can still take bookings when it knows it's in grave financial difficulties confounds me. Anyhow, that meant at least he was around to take the boys plus a friend to the science museum yesterday. I didn't have to go, phew, there are only so many times I can go there, but S particularly never gets bored of it, mashaAllah.

Today I took them to the library where they were having a visitor from the Reptile centre showing the children some of their animals. Funny, but he had as well as lizards, turtles and snakes, spiders, scorpions and beetles; I think they need to rename their zoo. The children who were very chuffed to have got front row seats, soon changed their minds as the keeper brought out the various fear-inducing creatures. It was the way he whipped them out the big wooden box he'd brought them in that also enhanced the effect, there were kids screaming all over the place, and he had to keep saying 'This is a library we must keep the noise down. I thought this would be most entertaining for H and Biryani, but it was M and S who's jaws were dropping, while H wanted to play with my phone (he's been to the museum with nursery, so maybe, been there done that type attitude) Biryani was a little worried. None of mine wanted to hold the huge, lengthy python (?) the keeper produced as his hat-trick at the end, but most of the other kids overcame their fears and helped to hold the snake (it took about 6 or 7 children at once to hold it along its length).

After this we have visited friends, and have found out the Dads are planning to have a meeting soon to organise some activities for the older boys, alhamdulilah, it is really more appropriate now for them to be 'with the men' , rather than with their mummies all the time.(Gives us a break too!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Things that come into my head whilst feeding Hz

sms ringtones.
Microwaves beeps,
Screams and shouts,
bounce off these ever decreasing,

Grass, greener.

Laughs, sleepy sighs,
Milk slurps,
Grey skies,
Warm soup,
Trust, du'a

Grass, yellow,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last leaves of Autumn

MashaAllah, these trees greet me with a an orange glow as I view them from my kitchen window in the morning. I know the leaves' days are numbered, and I hoped to go to go for a walk in the woods to see the full splendour of the warm shades of colour of the leaves. However I have decided to limit use of the car this last week due to my back, and DH came back a bit later so he was not around to assist me with lifting kids in and out of the car.
As I expected, the early starts for school run has tired me out, rather than the baby. Hz's excellent sleeping pattern is, at the moment (I hasten to add), 9 p.m until til approx 6.30 am and then another couple of hours after a feed. Those extra 2 hours I could grab if didn't have to get kids ready for school would make a big differnce to me. Funny how Saturday morning the children finally get into the school routine and wake extra early when I could actually have a 'lie-in' alhamdulillah.
So we are all pretty flaked out when they are home from school, then it's food, prayers and homework (not necessarily in that order, depends on the child!). So getting on with anything extra is tough, but alhamdulillah, the children are (sometimes) asking for things/ doing things themselves. S asked to go over his surah they're learning at school again, and also his best friend is able to help him practice when they visit each other as he knows a lot of Quran mashAllah. S also decided to make a maths workbook on the computer today, so maybe inshAllah young Hz can have a copy when he reaches the right age!
H likes the way the Peter and Jane books progress and I think he will be v chuffed when he can (eventually) do 12b (as will I!). He also asks me to practice surahs with him before bed, which is good as by that time I'm feeling like flopping on the bed/sofa, but as he's asked I can hardly refuse can I?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autumn and Spring, observing the past, preparing the new

I haven't been able to find time to blog for a while, although Hz is a relatively easy baby mashaAllah (sleeping through the night already?!) 24 hours divided by more and more bodies in the house leaves less for 'extra' things like this. S is home again with a cold, i think 3rd time this term. DH has popped off to Holland for a week, so that's one less although then I have the school run to do myself, hope my back holds out, as getting them in and out of car seats is the killer. The ibuprofen and co codamol are just about keeping it bearable now alhamdulillah.

Anyway, here're some pics:

Those flowers did turn out to be pink...

and inspiration from you know who you are via Ihsan Newsletter got us planting bulbs. Still have some hyacinths to do as I think they'd like to see some plant-growing-action a bit more quickly. (Cress seeds are probably my best option actually..)

Some autumn leaves... and H and M went out with their Nature Detectives website leaf bags and brought in lots of 'nature'. H made his into some 'tea' for a ceremony. (Japanese tea ceremony he'd seen on 'Timothy goes to school). I was quite interested in why the leaves actually change colour which was nicely explained on the website. If anything, at least I am learning something from this semi-home education lark..
and guess who's been looking at books:

Friday, October 03, 2008

It was bound to happen..

Yesterday S was looking for something on the internet and came across a blog that was basically anti-Islam. It was some guy who posts any relevant articles from the media on his blog, many involving the kids' school. It sounds like there's a big resentment to any state funding of anything Islamic. Then I wondered if he would have picked up on our article about home ed. Of course yes, and being an Islamophobe home education wasn't his problem , but the fact I was a stay at home mother. He wrote, why does she not work, does she not want to,? Does her husband not allow her? Does it say in the Quran women are not allowed to work? Is it because she wears a scarf she cannot get a job? sunhanAllah.

Of course by being in the media these sort of comments are bound to come up and I hope by getting involved more good than evil came about. But of course anonymous comments were not allowed on the blog, in fact one had to be a group member to post a comment (not sure what the point of this blog was then unless it was just to have a good Islam- bashing- group-session) Anyhow there were no comments on the blog at all and I shall not post the link as I don't give publicity to negative websites, and I doubt many people read it anyway.

I have come across other such blogs by mistake, one 'monitoring' fundamentalist activity in our city, and I'm sure there are such things in the UK and all over the world. The funny thing is the extent they think the Muslims are organised, from my own experience organising some children's activities or a study circle is about as far as it gets....

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kid’s quotes

I've been trying to 'ignore the bad and praise the good' behaviour: I try to give choices rather than dictate things Let's see how that went

Me: You're welcome

Biryani: I'm not welcome

Me: Thankyou, good girl

B: No

Me: Do you want orange or red (plate)?

B: Purple

S Do we see in pixels?

H How do you know it's (the flight) been delighted (delayed)

B I'm too busy (if I ask her to do something not totally interesting)

B You're too busy (to say prayers, sleep etc)

B I'm not a brat, I'm (Biryani) (response to brother)

M If you think about it almost anything can happen, flower toothpaste for example.

H Is Postman Pat a Christiain? (after I'd explained what Rev Timms church was)

Eid Mubarak!

MashAllah, Ramadhan went so quickly and Eid came suddenly, most Ramadhans have been 30 days since I have been Muslim.

I've had to give Biryani the last of the crisps left over from Eid to be able to get on the computer to write this. You see there is only so much I can achieve while she is sleeping out of the things that are made almost impossible for me to do during her waking hours. These include sleeping myself, going to the bathroom ( I just have to lock the door and be as quick as possible if she's upset by my tempory absence), praying (it's got really bad recently that if she sees me washing my feet she knows I'm not just having a usual 'wash' and am about to pray and starts protesting) , reading Quran (esp if I want to keep my prayer clothes on whilst doing this).

Eid consisted of the prayer and usual lego fest (except S wanted cash this year and is still thinking what to buy with it), too much sugar and saturated fat. May Allah let us live till the next Ramadhan and give me strength to fast by then amin.

MashAllah Hz is actually a fairly good sleeper, in fact this evening have been wondering about the house managing to do stuff that needs doing (removing the fluff from under my bed that keeps niggling me for example) as he went to sleep around 8 p.m.

Today H had a day off school as he had croup and also diarrhoea since yesterday (maybe from overindulgence on Eid?). Once I gave the details of the illnesses nursery seemed less keen to persuade me to bring him in as it was class photograph day today. In the end he was pretty much OK at home He dictated a story book about Wallace and Gromit to me, He was asking a lot about 'What's inside things' : the moon, blood, bones, brain cells so we looked them up.

PS Hz slept the whole night I can hardly believe it, I was tempted to feed him before I went to bed around 111.30 pm but left him, and his thumb kept him going I think.Of course I myself woke at around his normal feeding time and he was wriggling about a bit, and had ended up at right angles to the usual position with one leg outof his sleepsuit!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We have been up to something..

I take pictures as to remind me easily of things we have actually done, and it has actually been of help the last couple of weeks in terms of reminding me that we have actually done more than eat and sleep. H wanted to make paper helicopters like we did last year some time. Of course with my memory I couldn't remember how to make them. But alhamdulillah I had taken a photo of how we did it and had posted it on the blog, so quickly found out how to do it.
So here they are...

As I was making something for supper I was umming and erring whether to suggest we get the paints out to make use of the cut off ends of aubergines, onions etc. I remember S did some lovely prints using onions at his nursery in the UK, and so thought Biryani would like a try. In the end she used them as a form of large paint brush, but that was fine. Colours are still a popular theme with her now anyway, and we had colour everywhere by the end of it..

Post-operative rabbit (courtesy of S), being measured up for a shirt (by M).

Patterns and pins...

and the end result.

Poster paints out twice in one month, am I insane? Biryani has a thing about clowns. She thinks Hz is one (he was wearing a red sleepsuit, or maybe its his nose) ,
and any red clothes mean you are a circus performer extrordinaire.

So here is a red nose being made from an eggbox (don't ring Blue Peter recruitment up yet..)

Which was attached to young'uns noses with some elastic round the head. Needless to say it only lasted a day or so. But getting red paint everywhere, that's the best bit isn't it Mum?

Besides the kitchen becoming an art room, S has started javelin lessons and did a bit of shot putting too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Highs and lows

MashaAllah, I'm happy that my children are remaining children, not growing up too fast, not losing their childhood. But the other day my eldest came home from school a little sad. His classmate who's a year older had been teasing him that he din't know anything about drugs were, even 'snuss' which is tobacco/ snuff stuff theyhave here in Sweden. So I'm googling to find something appropriate to give him the information, because forewarned is forearmed I suppose. Does anyone know a good website at a 10-11 year old's level? (Swedish and/or English).
Generally I'm feeling a sense of 'disquiet' at the moment, seem to be getting all over-anxious about things. The house being so full of mess, not feeling I have enough time or energy to do much with the kids (former due to them being at school, latter due to having no 5).
And it's only Ramadhan keeping on track with ibadah that makes me feel I am 'achieving' something.
But in fact Hz is sleeping pretty well. he can go 6-7 hours at night without waking, and he's started sucking his thumb which should help with sleeping, rather than having me as a dummy.
He's found his hands and has started lashing around with them so much that I've had to find a nail file to sort out his fingernails, to stop him scratching himself so often. Cutting them wasn't working, it's so hard with little fingers that are being flailed about to do it properly.
Biryani's potty training, uh oh, this has gone out the window and back into nappies, and also started doing poos in them which she never did when we were first training. I know its normal regressive bahaviour due to baby arriving, but its v difficult and strange to clean her (after she's sat down in her dirty nappy, ugh) after such a long time using the potty for number 2's.
Other regressive feature is she's started speaking with sound immaturities e.g 'fis' for 'fish' and sometimes 'labbit' for 'rabbit'.
Ho hum
It's the last 10 days now of Ramadhan. InshaAllah we can make the most of it...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've been meaning to write a post for a while. Like some may send emails in their heads(you know who you are!), I think about things to blog while I'm doing such things as washing up, or just now as I am making Kulfi. Apologies to those fasting, but this is an aromatic Pakistani ice cream which I am attempting to make this time without the milk boiling over countless times. Putting a utensil such a spatula in the pan seems to help prevent this (little tip shown to me by MIL). Don't be too impressed, it's just adding a packet of ready mix to some simmering milk and then freezing it.

ANYWAY, I did write a post on a day when I'd been having a hard time with one of the kids. Then as I was publishing it I was thinking, should I really? It was written in a light hearted way but still it was about some non-positive behaviour. Why am I am blogging? Initially it was as a diary of what we are doing, in order to look back and see that some learning is going on, to remember the heart-warming moments, to read back about the harder days to remind myself they are only transitory and to just keep going. So I let S read the post, which he laughed out loud at as he recognised my frustrations, ,and he said I should publish it, but then I asked him, what if it had been about himself, would he mind anybody reading it? 'NO' without hesitation was his reply.

So if this blog seems mostly full of 'achievement' and 'happy days' then realise I'm pretty selective in what I write. In a way I'd like to just write what I feel so that anyone else in a similar position could read and feel they're in the same boat and hopefully get some comfort from it. On the other hand I have to realise this is about other people's feelings as well despite their young age.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Summer's come to an end and we welcome Ramadhan

May you all have a beneficial month of Ramadhan amin.

I've been having cold type symptoms on and off these past couple of weeks, along with some bureacratic pillar to post dealings, means blogging has been left and left.

I found some photos to post anyway, here's the one DH took of the shrimps they caught in the sea back in July.. (you mayhave to click on the pics to enlarge to see properly)The discovery of an old golf ball in the bushes led to S constructing a course for it to roll down. MashaAllah he is certainly a tactile learner.
and here are some worms (I'm not sure about the state of their health) found whilst digging for lego men that have 'fallen' from the balcony to the park below.

and our little crafting start to Ramadhan, although S was not inspired to make one, the younger ones were v pleased to have shields to fight with and we made small swords to represent the bad deeds fasting can shield us from doing (and hence may lead to Jahannum).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Curriculums or should I say Curricula?

Which reminds me, I did a couple of terms of Latin at the grammar school I went to before I moved to an area which had comprehensives. How much of it can I remember v little, except that it opened my eyes to the world of grammatical tables and maybe has helped in a small way with other languages I have studied.

I have been thinking about different attitudes to what children 'should' learn, i.e. curricula. This is highlighted in the link about Black History. I've been noticing the different attitudes according to people's own educational experiences as well as the countries they have lived in. Also the difference in how they should learn has obviously been highlighted by my experience of the LEA here in Sweden as well as different opinions from parents from Asian and Arab countries. Autonomous certainly doesn't appeal here (although my own DH can easily see many flaws in the way he was taught (parrot fashion, fear of the cane etc). Letting them learn by themselves does produce results but maybe not what those in charge of curricula making would want.

When I think back to my education, I spent so much time learning organic equations, memorising French quotes for French lit exams etc How has this helped me in life? How have I benefited from it.? At the time it felt like this was just something that had to be got through, not learning because I wanted to (which is of course the natural human instinct) but there are things which I'm glad I was taught, e.g. the maths which I do use pretty often. There are things I wish I could have been taught, touch typing, how to change a tyre, how to cut a wriggling child's hair (or a stationary one's), and these all thought to be subjects for the 'dim' kids. Academia leads to good jobs? leads to happiness?! But some of the academia of course has benefited me, I mention the maths and I think there are some subjects which I would have got a lot more out of if the teaching methods of the teachers had been somewhat more inspiring. That's probably why some parts of history I find more interesting and remember more of than others. Now I do feel I need to know more about more recent history. I gave it up at 13 uninspired at that time so my learning of history ended around the 17th century. English classes bring me memories of fear of the sarcastic teacher I had and the boys always mucking around or dropping off having had too much cannabis. Now I have little time for literature but when I do get a chance it now is much more enthralling especially as don't have to produce a 4 page essay on characters and themes and memorising quotes. I think I'd be more suited to a 'book club' type thing where this could just be discussed.. This is where the old chestnut comes in that certain things are best learnt at a young age (languages, memorising Quran) but the child may not see any immediate benefit to it and be very reluctant to do it. That's when I find myself dressing g it up with crafts and rewards if it's not the metaphoric cane method. Otherwise I'm thinking it should be something that we just do so start young so it's the norm. When I was potty training S I was just so glad he did it in the potty I didn't move on to washing hands etc until later, and then it was a struggle to get these things done. With Biryani its part of the whole deal so she doesn't want leave the bathroom without drying her hands on the towel. (the actual potty training bit is another story, though I hope inshAllah will eventually have a happy ending).

Anyhow I'm all in a tizzle as kids are back at school and how it will be doing stuff with them, tired and grumpy, and if anything I've just written makes any sense alhamdulillah

Friday, August 22, 2008

How play has changed..

Today we have been to M's arabic classes outing to one of the indoor playcentres. Not my cup of tea (due to hectic atmosphere, gawdy colours and extortionate prices), but kids do like it. Further below are some pics of my preferred type of activity (out in nature, be it only a local park).
So here's what we've been up to in the last few days of the holidays..
S writing out the script of his You tube video. He and his friend decided to make videos with action figures/ lego and got DH to show them how to upload to YouTube. It's been animation mania here as they have realised how to make 'cartoons' with their lego men using the mobile phone camera. Even H has managed to make a short one!

S now has his first mobile phone (my old one) and his own phone number.

Ta da! the PJ trousers (after a night's wear) which I actually finished within an hour or so in the end. They ended up loking like Judo trousers due to the recycled sheet material I used. Next is to try with some proper material inshAllah. Also I have to alter the pattern as they are bit tight on the 'behind'.

Out in the park where we find blackberries. One thing I like about Sweden is the focus on nature and learning. Even the maths books use nature as a theme .

Some writing practice, no paper wasted here..

The blackberries were not quite ripe, although we did find a few black ones which were quickly devoured.
M searching for ripe berries, with a young hazalnut tree in the background. Sadly it didn't appear to have any nuts..
Found one ! So inshaAllah we'll go back soon and get a few pots full.

Hz continues to give lots of smiles (to anyone , huff!) and did a little laugh yesterday.

TV viewing, well S was quite interested by the programme about how the earth could be if the human race suddenly disappeared. I had to explain to all of them that this wasn't depicting precisely what was going to happen, just what might happen according to the programme makers. Anyhow this gave an opportunity to talk a little bit about the Day of Judgement with him. Otherwise a bit of Islam channel cartoons today (but why so much music?) and the usual cartoons which prompted me to announce 'Control the remote control, don't let it control you!' I say this with slightly less hypocrisy as I recently have been watching hardly any TV and hope to avoid it as much as possible in Ramadhan.

So back to school tomorrow (if I have the energy, they're only supposed to be there 1 hour on the first day!). Just wondering if anyone will 'pop round' to check what we're up to and if kids are in school or not (me paranoid?)

InshaAllah only a week left until Ramadhan, and am wondering how S is going to manage. I remember reading about early muslims giving their children simple toys to distract them from the hunger, but today's kids including my own, would this be enough? may Allah make it easier for all those novice fasters (and the more experienced), and let them realise the benefit it is bringing to themselves.

It seemed like an orange day..

As inspired by EF, how anyone can do a month , or even a week of regular blogging, but I'll give a day a go.. Orange velour trousers (a kind gift from an auntie to young Hz). S calls him a bumble bee in them
Breakfast- marmalade, french toast being made by H..(In orange sleeved PJs)

Exercising those hand and eye muscles..

and on a different day actually, we had a swarm of ladybirds outside our flats. I was a bit worried at first when I saw this black cloud of insects. To the kids' delight they were able to easily pick a few up (I know, they're red, but M is wearing another orange T shirt which he likes, and also has 'Boss' written on it (Pakistani fake)). S was interested in what ladybirds eat, and M decided to see what happened if you put several ladybirds inside a glass jar on a boiling hot balcony (I had to terminate this experiment rapidly I might add).
Note to self: S also interested in lifespan of wasps. (I think he's looking forward to winter as he is pretty scared of them)

Anyhow, Biryani latest interest is colours, and orange is the only one she consistently gets right!(she likes to eat them)

We’re still here

I've been having a bit of a head cold, and waking up earlier so less energy for things other than the essentials this week.

We've been having Hz's first beaming smiles, and he does seem to be one who likes to have company. I think he'd like me to do more of the 'attachment' style parenting, but if he would be such a heavy boy (he's gone to almost the top percentile on the graphs) and have a mother with relatively weak shoulder/ back muscles, the sling is being used only in desperate times. MIL is due to go back soon, and it's probably going to get a lot tougher without her well-practiced baby-holding skills. It's also 'back to school' time next week, which to be honest ,in some ways, I am quite looking forward to. This is in terms of having some respite from the seemingly constant bickering and 'requests' for sustenance. I'm trying to face the next year positively, that I can try and get some organisation into this chaos while they're at school, (making up for the months of being pregnant and not being able to do much). Then I hope I can be a little less stressed and be a better mother (whatever that is) when they are at home.

Some photos to come inshAllah..

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dealing with a 2 year old’s mentality (I am not referring to husbands’..)

'Do you want juice?'


Do you want some toast?'


'Do you want some chocolate?'


'NO' - I will NOT comply

I finish feeding Hz and Biryani approaches me, wanting to have some lap time and sing humpty dumpty.

'Put him away' , pointing to car seat

Biryani wields my biro left unattended for a couple of minutes. I rush to the kitchen to fetch some paper from the drawer, followed in hot pusuit by daughter.

Daughter -*Cries*, 'NO, NO', 'push, push'

Me- '??'

Oh, you want me to shut the drawer so you can fetch the paper yourself.

I close the drawer. Peace is resumed ..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Education in the news

The article came out in the paper yesterday about our home education application. It was quite brief, and I was sure I had not expressed so much dissatisfaction with their particular school, but the fact that here there is no choice if you want to home educate. I didn’t want to make the school look bad, but rather show the education authorities’ injustice and closed mindedness. So there have been the usual comments from the general public agreeing with the authorities that attending school is the only way its possible to be socialised, or that we should just change schools. I’m waiting for the one ‘Why don’t they go back to where they came from?!’ comment. They had chosen a picture in which we all looked suitably unhappy about the situation, although actually M was not so happy as he’d been called away from his Star wars game... Anyhow maybe the Education Chief is feeling the heat, as he’d also been contacted by the paper, and the final word of the article said we were ‘thinking about reapplying next school year’
BTW here’s a link about learning being more beneficial in a child’s mother tongue from a recent news article, with indeed reactions that this is again some impediment to integration .(funny how I’ve heard they want to shut down schools who teach in Arabic but the International (English speaking) school is said to be the best school in Sweden

Sewing for dummies

(written yesterday, but had no internet connection)

OK, started on PJs despite what seems to be a somewhat sewing phobia. Felt inclined to do this as last night S's friend was staying, but was unplanned so he had no night wear. The few PJ bottoms we have were either in the wash basket or drying so they both ended up wearing the long shorts we have for swimming for their bottom halves!

I studied the contents of my pattern which thankfully only have one other language (Spanish) included, and then realised this is not a job to do with a currently, v jealous 2 year old around. Oh the glee that would result in tearing and scrunching the ridiculously thin tissue paper the pattern is made of. So now she has just fallen asleep and I so managed to cut out the pattern and see if it would fit on the spare bit of material that I will inshAllah try it out on.

I have to go to a meeting to inshAllah enrol H with the childminder (a muslim sister I know) so the next stage is ironing the pattern and the fabric (ironing another pet hate).

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Some learning must be going on, somewhere..

Brain a bit cotton wool like nowadays, despite Hz sleeping relatively well (3-4 hour blocks at night and I think even 5 and a bit hours the other night, unless I fed him while half asleep). As usual it's the younger ones waking me that does it. So keep putting off posting as it does require some brain cells.

A paper rang us the other day as one of their journalists had heard about our home ed application being refused as they are allowed to go to a weekly announcement of all decisions made by the Länsrätten (not sure exact equivalent in UK, maybe county council). So have done an interview, anything to champion Home Ed cause here. At the end of the interview the journalist thought it was important that it is shown that home educators are just 'normal people', as most Swedes would think they are extremists, well thank you (I think!) He also asked me if there were many children not getting an education in the UK as I'd mentioned that one doesn't even have to register you are home educating if your children haven't been to school. I said I thought that was highly unlikely as the parents who do home educate generally want the best for their children. Conversely, school may be seen as free child care to those who may have less interest in the education side of things (to whom I assumed he was referring and would keep them home and not help them be educated).

Apart from that, the 2 elder boys have been horse buggy riding (körning) something like this. Making lots of lego creations, cycling and the usual day to day sibling rivalry.. H continues with his ladybird reading scheme (he's almost begging me to listen to him mashAllah), and I sometimes catch M reading a book to himself.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Naps and reading

I haven't been very good at falling asleep for a nap recently, as much as I try, but then trying to sleep often brings about the opposite effect. In fact I probably do go into a stage of sleep for a few minutes that I read about once, where you think you haven't been asleep, but when a baby cries/ child beckons you realise you were actually sleeping as you suddenly awaken. Anyhow this thing about 'sleep when your baby sleeps' is really only applicable to your first child, and then if you are good at power napping/ short cat napping. So anyhow the result was that yesterday evening I was pretty tired Alhamdulillah, and it was the first day DH had been away since the baby was born. DH has been taking charge in the main for getting the older ones to bed, and staying up with Biryani (who ends up having a late nap which powers her up till midnight and beyond). They were reluctant to get ready for bed but I certainly wasn't in the mood for mucking about. Eventually I think nearly all teeth had been brushed and maghrib prayed. M decided he wanted to stay up for Isha. As it was only about 20 mins away I agreed, and then we all sat down on the sofa and had actually a really fun and quite interesting time. M read most of a Swedish library book he'd chosen to do a review on. Then H wanted to continue with his Peter and Jane book. In between Biryani tried to elicit some story telling from me, and then I challenged M to read some of a harder Peter and Jane book. The fun part was that M (who has always been a bit of a clown) decided to read it in a funny voice (something akin to an Irish accent) and change, not always deliberately, some of the words. So for example, Jane became Janie, and also James Bond. It had me and H in fits anyhow. The interesting thing was I noticed M's reading in Swedish was more hesitant/ errors. He still has to sound out most of the words even if it's repeated in the next sentence. He also decoded a couple of the peculiar Swedish vowels incorrectly quite often. Whereas his reading in English was much more fluent and accurate than the last time I heard him read a book out loud (quite a few weeks ago). Maybe it was because he hadn't done any Swedish reading for a few weeks and also hasn't been speaking it for over a week. But it was around this age I think that S clicked with his English reading (as far as I recall, (I'll maybe check my archives) so I hope it's the same for M. M announced that reading English is easier than Swedish, when in fact it's much less phonetic. However his spoken/ comprehension ability must be better in English and must be making it easier by using the context of the text?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The weather is warm, the sea is inviting..

Hz is in his 4rd week now, and is definitely a boy, i.e. more demanding! This heat is not for him and is only happy if I am holding him, the car seat being to insulating I think. But mashAllah, it does feel that there is a difference between day and night, and I haven’t found myself pacing up and down at 2 a.m. (yet!) DH is back off to London for a few days so will have the big ones to think about more as DH has been keeping them busy recently. H has got a new bike without stabilisers which he has already mastered. He’s been practising the balancing aspect at nursery on these special little 2 wheeled bikes with no pedals they recently acquired.
H has also been asking (again at around 10.30 p.m.) to start reading books and chose (yes, chose!) a Peter and Jane ladybird book. After I had directed him from book 4 to book 1 (which he was relieved to find had only a few words per page) he started the book and tried really hard, and went through 1a and 1b. He needs a lot of guidance but I'll help him as much as he asks, as he is only almost 5. Biryani got hold of a book and has already picked up she needs to point at a word and say 'Peter' and 'Jane' mashAllah , v cute.
I also managed to locate the free ‘water activity’ centre which is by the sea fairly near home. So they first tried the extended boots and caught some shrimps and a few other bits of marine life. S now wants to get an aquarium, but I just can’t think where we could put it (lack of space plus younger ones would not be able to resist). Then yesterday they went back to be a little more adventurous and try snorkelling for the first time. They were able to borrow wet suits and masks etc and actually enjoyed it. S was interviewed by a local paper journalist while he was there and his besnorkled picture made it into today’s local paper!

Also they’ve been getting v enthusiastic about a money-making activity, which when I originally suggested, and had rejected as it was too ‘embarrassing’. But when they found it was so easy pickings they’ve now become local bottle recyclers. By the beach so many people leave their empty bottles, most of which give you about 20p deposit back. They’ve made quite a few kronor for only a few hours ‘work’ (cycling around the beach area) and hopefully done a little for the environment at the same time. People are just too well-off here that they can’t be bothered to take home their rubbish. That’s probably why they’re actually increasing the amount of deposit you have to pay on each bottle soon in Sweden.

And to leave on what could be a sad note, we received the letter from the appeal court that our home ed application has been rejected by them as well. It was not a surprise. I only skim read the lengthy documents they sent me, but I noticed they were not happy I had given almost the same application for both children despite them being different ages (although I’d included the age-level appropriate goals for each of them).It just seems like they’re basically agreeing with the guy who made the original decision that I can’t provide an equivalent of school especially the social training *pulls out hair* But actually I’m calm about it because in fact S has told me a couple of times he’s actually prepared to return to school and that ‘I don’t need to argue with them any more’. M already changed his mind that he wants to go back to school at the beginning of the holidays. It was going to be a strange dilemma if they had given the permission and then the boys didn’t want to be home-educated (although after a couple of weeks back at school I expect their enthusiasm for institutionalisation will have waned). But I have been aware I must not be doing this for me, but for them to achieve the best in their education, for Allah’s sake. This must be what is best for us at this moment in time and must remember, nothing stays the same.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

was a bit ambitious today..

S had his friend over for a long weekend and they managed to get creative on
one of the days and build a lego theme park inspired by recent trips I think, plus we'd recently received the lego magazine which had a picture of a ferris wheel that some children had sent in)

Now the friend has gone home the 'I'm bored' came out so I dared to let the poster paints out the box, and also let S bake a cake. Altogether a bit much when you've got a 2 week old baby, but alhamdulillah, the house is intact (bar a slightly grey (after scrubbing) kitchen wall that Biryani decided to start painting black (reminded me of one of my sister's student housemates who decided to paint his walls black one day). The textured wallpaper has to go from the kitchen..

Friday, July 18, 2008

Some pics, from pre- baby and post...

I thought I'd lost this picture, I took a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful evening, which also revealed how we are lliving under a flight path, so when the weather's right there are many white/ pink edged streaks across the sky.

Some 'armour' we fashioned out of foil and cardboard, which needless to say did not perform it's intended function too well and H was not highly impressed. Shall have to think about this one more carefully. Anyhow the nieghbour downstairs will be glad I was not so successful as she was rather fed up with their gladiator re-enactment game and came and complained about the noise :( I was thinking it wasn't as noisy as some their other 'chasing' type games - yes , we need a house, or a ground floor flat...inshaAllah.

Now I've been meaning to take a picture of these beautiful hollihocks which adorn so many of the pavement edges around where we live. I finally managed to remember to take my camera with me on our 'get the labour going' stroll (this was obviously when contractions were about 8- 10 minutes apart....)

POST-BABY: need I say more..

and my 'should-be' sponsors:

and my new (I use this term loosely as I actually bought it when pregnant with Biryani, but it's been left in the cellar waiting for someone to install it ) work-top, and I am ever so grateful to DH for getting onto the phone and getting it sorted pretty quick for this baby, plus I have shelves, shelves rather than everything stuffed in a cardboard box. (It doesn't take much to please me..) I just need to get some matching storage boxes, but can't face IKEA right now..

and H's view of breakfast (rye flour pancakes), he just loves taking pictures
and the worksheet I mustered up for H which he wanted to do at 10.30 p.m. the night before but I just did not have the energy. So I did it the next morning (after he reminded me)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

and he's arrived!

alhamdulillah, baby #5 has arrived safe and sound, weighing about 9 lb and has also got 'H' as the first letter of his name, so will be using Hz as abbreviation (if he likes physics then so be it!)
He's beena reminder of how the boys were, in terms of using up nappies/ clothes etc Biryani was just a brief interlude from this, but I'm still loving it,and I think I'm over all the tearful bit (why am I crying, I am so happy ?!?).
the other kids are well chuffed, esp H, who wants to hold him so much. maybe he's glad to finally not be the youngest boy...
Posts likely to be short for a while for obvious reasons (although lots to write).

Monday, July 07, 2008

Things look to be kicking off now, let's see if I can write a quick post in less tha 10 minutes as this seems to be the space between contractions now. It's going to be strange if baby born tonight as he/she'll have the same birthday as me. Anyhow may be another false start, I mean I don't think I should be able to type a post during labour really?! I remember a midwife for my first baby told me I couldn't be in labour as I was smiling and laughing (little did she know!)
H has taken it upon himself to want to learn to read some more words today. Normally not much interest but he was proud of himself for sounding out and reading 'vet' in an 'abc' book, and so he wanted to continue with the magnetic fridge letters. I really don't want to dampen his enthusiasm, but if things progress I'll have to leave this for a few days!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Colours everywhere

The pleasant view I get from a bench near my flat. The housing association has bought some rather tasteful new garden furniture too. My camera couldn't qute capture the vibrancy of the left hand side purple flowers, but they are amazing mashAllah.

Some luscious looking green plants which I think will have white flowers soon, any plant experts out there know their name?

and a new activity to keep eager artists busy, 'sidewalk chalks' which are v popular here in Sweden. Yes you are allowed to draw on the pavement dear daughter (I'm assuming!?!) Normally all she hears from me is 'Draw on PAPER' as she is especially keen on drawing on the pictures in books. It must be confusing for her as she is handed colouring books with no ensuing reprimands.Horizon a bit wonky, I'm not so good at bending down nowadays (due to stomach), well that's my excuse anyway..
and the boys had a go too
It hasn't rained since Sunday (when we did this) so the pavement out the back is still colourfully displaying their work.

Have to go soon as DH's flight has landed and due to pick him up. Contractions have been coming now and again but have been staving them off with the thought that I still have to hand in my appeal and send a copy registered post too. I would have done it today but needs DH's signature. I don't want to risk it being made invalid without it (or pp ing it) and don't feel comfortable faking his. The hand in date could be Monday, although I rang to try and confirm, but the lady I needed to talk to was on holiday til Monday. Her colleague said it should be a bit later than that as I didn't actually receive the decision in writing till a week later than the meeting. However I don't want to give them any chance to reject the appeal. It would seem silly not to get permission just because I missed a deadline. So no proper contractions please until I've been to the Post Office in the morning. (I resisted going out today for a stroll even though beautiful weather as don't want to get things going) .